Linus Sebastian, the tech streamer and Founder of Linus Tech Tips, asked Reddit for help finding a new phone. He established four key requirements, and outlined over a dozen soft preferences. We were curious to see just how unique Linus’ preferences were, so we mapped the preferences he outlined to the PerfectRec phone questionnaire to see what phone we’d recommend for him and how his preferences compare to our typical user.
PerfectRec is an interactive product recommendation site. We combine the deep knowledge of top Reddit product experts with machine learning to create personalized recommendations. We’re a fairly new startup – we launched earlier this year– but we are starting to attract users and feedback including from the LTT community after Linus mentioned us at the top of the July 14th episode of The WAN Show “I Think Apple Lied” in a segment about our investigation into Apple's implausible iPhone satisfaction claims.
Here’s how we mapped Linus’ preferences to the PerfectRec questionnaire and how they compare to the typical user. There were some preferences – like the phone must work well on North American cell phone bands – that Linus was crystal clear about. For others, such as iPhone vs Android, he gave pros and cons. In some cases, we had to make judgment calls as to how Linus might answer the PerfectRec questionnaire. We’ll call our best-guess at Linus’s answers “Synthetic Linus.”
Linus sounded like he was leaning towards an iPhone. He’s used Android for years, and while he likes the ability to side load applications and prefers fingerprint scanning, the balance of his comments sounded like someone who is at least iPhone curious. We had Synthetic Linus choose iPhone.
Linus mentioned that he had a preference for a folding phone, since he sometimes uses it for virtual desktop applications, though also indicated that he is very curious about small phones. Since there aren’t folding iPhones and we don’t recommend folding Androids due to their high cost and fragility, we had Synthetic Linus lean into his small phone interest and choose that.
Linus didn’t set a specific budget, but LTT is a very successful brand, so we are assuming budget isn’t too much of a concern. We had Synthetic Linus’ choose the maximum budget.
Linus said he’s not a big selfie guy, and doesn’t record too much video on his phone (there’s a camera person for that). He doesn’t care about having lots of lenses, and while lidar scanners are cool, he doesn't use the feature much. PerfectRec asks about camera quality on a four point scale, where 1 is “Does not matter” and 4 is “Matters very much.” Since Linus made clear he takes lots of pictures, but does most of the editing on a computer, we had Synthetic Linus choose 2.
Linus expressed some concerns about ensuring his battery lasted all day. PerfectRec asks about battery life on the same 4 point scale as the previous question. In this case, we had synthetic Linus choose a four, knowing that the preference for an all day battery likely rules out the smallest phone options.
In some cases where users have conflicting preferences that can effect their final recommendations, we ask them to prioritize what feature is more important. In this case, we had Synthetic Linus choose battery life over small a small phone.
There are 1,500 possible different answer combinations to the version of the phone questionnaire we had Synthetic Linus use. If he had selected Android, there’s an additional filter question covering things like a headphone port, SD slots and other features that are the same across iPhone models but which vary between Androids. That brings the possible number of answer combinations up to 190,500.
Synthetic Linus’ specific preference set is extremely uncommon, with just 0.34% of users selecting that exact combination. Here are the most common answer combinations and a visualization of how rare they are.
After answering all of the questions, we give every user three recommendations to choose from. The top recommendation is generally the best fit, but we present multiple options in case there is some variable we don’t directly cover with questions. If we had a question for every feature on a phone, the questionnaire would be unusually long, and not every user is quite as thorough as Linus at considering their preferences.
Based on the preferences above, the PerfectRec recommendations for Linus are:
iPhone 15 Pro
These recommendations cover 14/18 of Linus’ preferences, and some of the preferences that weren’t covered are incompatible with others: Apple doesn’t offer headphone jacks or folding phones. Linus did have preferences for USB 3 and one-click camera access, which are only available on one of the recommended phones. So in the end the ideal pick is the iPhone 15 Pro.
Linus expressed 19 preferences about his phone. The top four are hard requirements.
Recent OS version
Linus seemed worried the fans might recommend a phone with a keypad.
North American cell bands
Google Play Store (if Android)
No foldable iPhones
Specifically likes iPhone glass durability
The ubiquity of Apple stores and authorized repair centers makes the iPhone logistically easy to repair.
High refresh rate
Always on display
Quick camera access
iPhones offer 2-click camera access, while the action button on the iPhone 15 Pro supports one click camera.
The iPhone 15 Pro supports USB 3, though the base iPhone 15 does not.
Doesn’t care about multi lenses
Wants headphone jack
No iPhones have headphone jacks.
Doesn’t care about microSD
Waterproof is a plus
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